Rogue sat down with a thump. She was adopted? That means she had another father somewhere, and she had to find out what was special about him. Her father had never told her. Why? It seemed as if her father had hidden a good many things from her, and she wondered was it for her own benefit of his own?
Maybe there as some diary or some letter he had written which could reveal more about her father?
“Are you alright.?” the priest asked Rogue, seeing her distraught.
“I didn’t know I was you know.” Rogue trailed of, her head still reeling with this unexpected piece of information.
“He didn’t tell you?” the priest asked surprised.
So even the priest knew about her before she did. Thanks dad, she said sarcastically in her head. How had he not told her? She wondered, the question was the only thing on her mind. She had a right to know. Now, she would have to find out her ancestry all alone, without any help. Who was her father? And what had he done to the king?
“No he didn’t.” she replied sadly as she wondered what else he had hidden from her.
She needed time alone, and the priest sensing that went up and about to his routine, leaving her alone and leaving a torch on the stand so that she had light.
Why did things happen to her? Why couldn’t she have a normal life? She thought for the hundredth time. No, but everything had to happen to her. She couldn’t even have a normal family. Everything connected to her seemed to be broken or eventually would break. It was like a curse followed her. Eris and Aerys were her only close friends, and she had always distanced herself from people. Maybe after this was done, she would take herself and her misfortune and go away for good.
At least then the people she loved would be able to pick up the pieces of their life and join them together. They would be able to live properly, a life with contentment where they could be happy.
They would initially mourn her and miss her, but soon they would move on, find new people, make new memories.
Rogue sighed, and stood. She had no time to mourn she had to get things done. She had to move on to more important things such as finding her father and his bloodline. She had no time for weeping and mourning, she said chiding herself.
She walked out onto the streets. It was almost afternoon and she moved in a random direction, thinking she would head for her father’s place in the evening.
Rogue moved towards the king’s palace, letting the crowd take her where it went. They moved towards the king’s courtyard, and ‘Rogue wondered what was going on and she realized it was sacrifice day. Great she thought bitterly. This was what she needed to lift her mind of things, exactly this.
Six children lost as well as six families were destroyed. This custom of the king was going to be the end of Ashanti, and Rogue wondered whether a point would come when there was no one left to sacrifice. But they were going to ensure that this was over once and for all, and this ritual was the last the king would ever perform. Little did Rogue know that there was going to be one more. One last sacrifice after this one.
She looked on as families got separated and wails broke out from the crowd. She had been in this place so many times, always praying that Aerys’ family never got called on but it had happened. Rogue sighed, and wondered for the hundredth time. Where were they?
Suddenly, it hit Rogue that the archer and his team had to be somewhere around to assassinate the king. This was the one time of the day that the king was out in the open to take in his captives, and it would be the perfect time to strike. She looked around her, searching for the archer.
If I wanted to assassinate the king, I would take shelter in.? Where would she take shelter? She looked up at the trees. Maybe they were there? But Rogue couldn’t notice anyone. Well, at least they were hidden well, she sighed, hoping they were successful. A lot depended on this, and she hoped it went well.
There was a clang and then the palace gates opened and the king walked out. He seemed to be in a hurry, but he wasn’t worried. The battle seemed to be going well for the king’s forces, and it terrified Rogue that they might fail in this attempt. If they did, all was lost, and there was no point going on. Rogue hoped that didn’t happen, and that the warrior and the tribal’s armies fought back and defeated the king.
After a while, the crowd dispersed as the king took his captives inside his palace. Rogue walked into Ashanti, wondering what to do and finally decided to go to a place where she hadn’t been in a long time. But she would have to be careful, as she couldn’t risk anyone discovering her, and she hoped no familiar faces were present. She covered her face with her hood, and walked into the alleys, letting the shadows cover her. She walked by the side of alleys and towards her destination.
The place she was going to did not have a name, and it was a small ramshackle in one of the less friendly alleys. Rogue had spent a lot of time wasting her days here, until she had found Satan and after that Aerys had taken up her time.
She would always come here when she needed a break away from her father and whenever Aerys was at work. Here, she had made a band of friends, thieves, pickpockets and other kinds of sly folk and she had soon disassociated herself from them.
But it was here she understood that even though the thieves and other people were the most dishonest, there existed a code between fellow thugs and thieves. Here, they would exist in harmony, as friends. If anyone was in trouble, it was the responsibility of the others to help them out. There would be no stealing between fellow thieves, and these rules were followed without any question.
She walked into the shop, her face down, praying that no one familiar was there. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to meet anyone, Rogue feared the questions that would come after they found out who she was. Where were you all this while? What happened to you? Forget us did you?
She sat down by a corner slowly glancing around her, her head down. She looked at old Ben who was sitting by the counter. He was the one who had taught her how to use the daggers and step into the shadows. He was an assassin, and had been young. But now, had had grown old and his head was dominated with grey hairs. He had taken her along on some thieving experiences.
She remembered the dark night when they were just silhouettes in the night. Ben had taken her along with him, and it had been her very first adventure. She remembered the thump of her heart, and the excitement she had felt when they had entered the house they were stealing from. Old Ben never stole money, he had to steal some letters that his employer deemed were important, and he had taken Rogue along. The tingling across her body, and her heart pounding had been a wonderful feeling, and she had felt free for the first time. There had been no turning back from them, as the thrill of risking her life was something she would never forget. Old Ben had given her a new life, and he had taught her things that changed her life.
He was like a father to her, and she felt scared going up to him. She wondered how he would react to her showing up like this. None of them deserved this. She would just budge in, disturbing the normalcy of their lives and causing hue and cry. But it just occurred to her that she might need Ben for one last task together. Stealing letters and documents from her father’s house.
She stood up, walked up to him and sat down at his table, lifting her hood.
Ben gasped, blinking his eyes to make sure he wasn’t dreaming and rose up to his feet. “Rogue is that you?” he began but Rogue told him to sit down and be quiet. She couldn’t let anyone know she was here, the king’s ears and eyes everywhere, and she couldn’t trust them.
“Listen Ben, I’m on a secret mission, and nobody can know about this. I need your help in stealing some important documents, and so I will need you to accompany me. This is very important, and please do not tell anyone.” Rogue said, covering her head with the hood again.
“So where have you been?” old Ben asked, and Rogue knew the question would eventually come. She didn’t have the time to explain anything.\
“It’s a long story Ben, and maybe I’ll tell you after we’re done with all this.” she said, evading his question.
He seemed to understand, and he nodded his head. Rogue got up and motioned to
Ben to follow her. It was almost evening, and time to go to her father’s house. For some reason, Rogue kept referring to her house as her father’s house. The house was hers, now that her father was dead. But she had never felt at home there. For her, home was beside the fireplace in her hut at the outskirts of Ashanti, where she was free. Where there was nothing to bother her, and Aerys was by her side.
“So how are the other folks?” she asked Ben who was slowly making his way behind her. Age seemed to have taken a toll on him, as she could feel him taking efforts to reach her pace. She slowed a little so he could catch up.
“Most of them are dead and gone, I’m the last of our original pack. Now alone, I’ve given up thievery and while away most of my days sitting at the tavern, listening to stories and sharing out some myself. I talk to people about my experiences, and even now a few people come to me if they want a way into some places in Ashanti.”
Rogue was shocked. Everyone was gone or dead? Old Ben was the last one? How much had she missed? All of it was because of Satan. How could she have been influenced by such a cult, she wondered yet again.
They moved on towards her father’s house and stood outside. The main reason she had brought Ben was for company, but she wouldn’t tell him that. “Let’s go inside.” she said and they stepped in through the door.